Study suggests humans mated with Neanderthals
By Clara Moskowitz | CSMonitor.com
Humans today could be part Neanderthal, according to a new study that found our ancestors interbred with an extinct hominid species some millennia ago.
Neanderthals walked the Earth between about 130,000 and 30,000 years ago. While they co-existed with modern humans for a while, eventually they went extinct and we didn’t. There has been intense scientific debate over how similar the two species were, and whether they might have mated with each other.
A reconstruction is shown at the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann, Germany, where the first remains of Neanderthal Man were found in 1856. A new study has found signs of ’some significant amount’ of interbreeding between early humans and Neanderthals.Newscom/File
"The issue has been highly contentious for some time," said University of New Mexico genetic anthropologist Keith Hunley.
Last week at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Albuquerque, N.M., Hunley and colleagues presented the results of a new study that found evidence for interbreeding between modern humans and some other extinct ancient human species – either Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) or another group such as Homo heidelbergensis. The research was first reported by NatureNews.
The researchers looked at DNA samples from humans living today, and found signs of leftover Neanderthal genes introduced from this interbreeding. They looked at genetic data from almost 2,000 people around the world, and calculated how much genetic variation existed between samples. The results indicate that some extinct group of hominids mixed their genes with ours at two points in history, Hunley said.
One period of interbreeding probably occurred shortly after Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa around 60,000 years ago. The researchers found an excess of genetic diversity in all modern people except Africans, suggesting that the influx of Neanderthal-like DNA came after the exodus from Africa.
A second period of interbreeding is suggested by the fact that the researchers measured even more genetic diversity among people of Oceanic descent – people from Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and other Pacific islands.
"I think we show there’s clear evidence in the genome of living people of this mixture," Hunley told LiveScience. "The fact that there’s a clear signal implies that there was some significant amount" of interbreeding, he said.
This work is the first time scientists have used DNA from living people to look at this question, Hunley said.
In an earlier study, Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis found suggestions of Neanderthal and modern human interbreeding by comparing ancient bone fossils from the two species.
Trinkaus said the new work fits into his findings, though he hasn’t reviewed the details yet since Hunley’s paper has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. "The conclusion makes sense and fits with the majority of the data available," Trinkaus said.
Another anthropologist who has studied Neanderthal anatomy agreed.
"I have been arguing for this position throughout my career, ever since I began to study Neandertals and other populations," said Milford Wolpoff of the University of Michigan. "It has always seemed clear that some Neandertal anatomy appears in living populations."
Not everyone, though, will be easily convinced yet, Hunley said.
Article from: CSMonitor.com
X Woman: Not human, not Neanderthal, what is she?
Fossil DNA tells tales of red-haired Neanderthals
Scientists believe that Neanderthal Man was not related to Homo Sapien (Video)
Neanderthal DNA degradation (Video)
Human Likely Killed Neanderthal, Weapons Test Shows
Scientists unravel Neanderthal genome
Return of the Neanderthals
Neanderthal, Human Ancestor Could Chat
Neanderthals: More Advanced Than Thought?
Some Neanderthals Were Redheads
Researchers may remake Neanderthal DNA
Early human relative predates even dinosaurs
Lloyd Pye - Everything you Know is Wrong (Video)
Latest News from our Front Page
The Jewish Roots of Leonard Nimoy and What the ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Hand Symbol Really Means
Leonard Nimoy first saw what became the famous Vulcan salute, “live long and prosper,” as a child, long before “Star Trek” even existed. The placement of the hands comes from a childhood memory, of an Orthodox Jewish synagogue service in Boston.
The man who would play Spock saw the gesture as part of a blessing, and it never left him. “Something ...
Baby born still INSIDE his amniotic sac is hailed a ‘medical miracle’ by doctors [Video]
What an incredible miracle… Not only was the little boy three months early – he was born inside his amniotic sac. I’ve never heard of this happening before. If you look at the picture, you can see him clearly with his little arms and legs curled up. He was still being given oxygen by his mom until the sac was ...
California Infant Dies after 8 Vaccines, Family Gets Him Back from Hospital Cremated
Parents in California are distraught after losing their infant son after being vaccinated. He died in his sleep and was taken to the hospital already deceased. Hospital staff ruled his death as sudden infant death syndrome. The couple was told an autopsy was required to be performed on their son.
After returning home, waiting to get an update, they never received ...
DNA: Data-storage for eternity
How can we preserve our knowledge today for the next millennia? ETH researchers have found a way to store information in the form of DNA, preserving it for nearly an eternity.
Scrolls thousands of years old provide us with a glimpse into long-forgotten cultures and the knowledge of our ancestors. In this digital era, in contrast, a large part of our ...
Hypercleanliness is making us sick - Children develop allergies and eczema
Could using a dishwashing machine increase the chances your child will develop allergies? That's what some provocative new research suggests — but don't tear out your machine just yet.
The study involved 1,029 Swedish children (ages 7 or 8) and found that those whose parents said they mostly wash the family's dishes by hand were significantly less likely to develop eczema, ...
|More News » |